Planning a wedding from afar is no mean feat but thanks to some decisive organising and excellent suppliers, Lauren and Alex pulled it off in style! Their wedding at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool took place on the 8th September 2018 and it’s fair to say that it was in equal parts elegant, fun and laid back.
I’m loving all the colour, it looks like such a fun wedding and so stylish too! Everything took place in one venue, with different spaces for each part of the day, there was no time wasted as our couple wanted to focus on having fun with their guests.
I just know that you’ll love what they chose for their wedding cake, it’s another fun element and personal to them too. Whilst Lauren and Alex didn’t want to fuss too much with a space that was already beautiful, there are plenty more gorgeous details to take in too.
Thanks to Emma Hillier Photography for providing these gorgeous images today. It’s easy to see why Lauren knew she wanted Emma as their photographer from the very start of planning!
Alex was very sneaky about the proposal! He had my gorgeous emerald and diamond ring especially made by the London Victorian Ring Company and couriered out here (we currently live in Switzerland) without me suspecting anything. He proposed in September 2017 at a lovely spot by the lake nearby to us.
We wanted a chilled out day that wouldn’t involve us doing much more than enjoying it with our guests – and a great party!
The Planning Process
As I mentioned, we currently live abroad, but wanted to have the wedding in Liverpool. I come from there and Alex studied there and stayed on, so we both call it home! We wanted to have the wedding within the year, in one venue so we didn’t have to worry about moving guests across the city, and ideally somewhere that was a little unusual. We were keen that we wouldn’t have to do much to the venue itself to make it look special; we just didn’t have the luggage allowance or time to bring much back!
I did a dash back to England in January after researching some venues online, and as soon as I’d had the tour of our venue, I knew we would book it.
We chose the Victoria Gallery and Museum which is a beautiful building within the University of Liverpool. Alex and I both studied there so had both been into the museum before, which made it feel a bit more personal than a function room somewhere else, and nobody we know had been married there. It’s right in the city centre which made it super convenient for all of our guests, and it’s also bloody gorgeous!
The museum split the day between three rooms. We had the actual ceremony in a gorgeous old lecture theatre, the reception drinks in one of the museum galleries surrounded by skeletons and the like and finally dinner and dancing in the main hall. There was also the quad outside which we had access to for photos and fresh air! The movement between the areas worked really well for us as it kept the flow of the day going really nicely.
The museum offered us a wedding planner and an on the day co-ordinator as part of our package, both of whom were absolutely brilliant (and put up with my thousands of emails VALIANTLY!) The venue was impeccably set up, everything we’d asked for was done, and even without loads of decorating from us, the place looked and felt really special. All of the staff were absolutely great (many of our guests also commented on this which was lovely) and we didn’t have to worry about anything apart from enjoying our day!
Your Outfits & Accessories
Before we got engaged, we’d booked a holiday to New York. I decided that it was my bridal DUTY to go dress shopping while we were out there, mainly because it sounds very glamorous! I’d long been a fan of BHLDN on Instagram and managed to get an appointment with them towards the end of our trip. I was a little nervous about going on my own, but had an army of bridesmaids and family demanding photos via WhatsApp!
I didn’t really have an exhaustive list of dresses or requirements; I ended up picking all sorts of different styles and shapes to try and see if anything worked. The BHLDN consultant was really great and had a list of the dresses that I’d asked to see – of course after trying four on, I bought an entirely different one that I hadn’t considered! As soon as I put it on, I felt great, and comfortable and fab, so it was the one for me! I loved the champagne colour and the amazing beading all over; it felt very glamorous and a bit vintage without looking like I was dressing up, and felt like it would match our venue well.
I’d already decided I didn’t want to wear a veil so opted for a gold hair comb with white and green stones to match my engagement ring, and some gold earrings with green stones (both Etsy). Some gold sandals from Charlotte Olympia completed the look, not forgetting a LOVE bag from Kurt Geiger to use after the ceremony.
Alex didn’t want anything that felt like a work suit, so went for a navy tuxedo from Marc Darcy, which felt like something a bit more suitable for a special occasion. He had shoes from Ted Baker, tie and pocket square from Debenhams and yellow submarine Beatles socks from Happy Socks!
We bought our wedding rings from the same company as my engagement ring (London Victorian Ring Co.) and Alex surprised me with a pair of emerald studs from them too.
We were thoroughly pampered by the lovely ladies at So Coco Rouge. It was a lovely part of the day; very relaxing and fun. I went for a slightly vintage look, as I wanted a more intricate hairdo as I was having no veil. I’d said that I didn’t mind what the bridesmaids wanted hair and makeup-wise; as we just wanted everyone to feel comfortable and gorgeous! The girls did really wonderfully at giving everyone makeup and hair that they wanted individually, but still creating a cohesive look overall, and everyone looked and felt fabulous!
The Readings & Music
We thought a lot about our readings, as a lot of the traditional ones felt too saccharine, or at the other end of the spectrum felt a bit insincere. We settled on a passage about marriage from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran and a short poem by Rupi Kaur.
Our friend Barry kindly played the piano for our ceremony. We walked into a piano arrangement of Nat King Cole’s When I Fall in Love, and had some lovely jazz standards during the signing of the register. We walked out to Let’s Dance by David Bowie, because it was party time!
The Details & Décor
The museum was pretty enough that we didn’t really need to provide much, thank goodness, so we stuck to a few personal and fun bits rather than needing to design a whole theme.
After hours of trying to work out what to name our tables I decided to just number them and bought light up numbers from Amazon which I loved! We brought Swiss chocolates for the tables back with us. Our favours were personalised Love Hearts, and we gave everybody an advice for the Bride and Groom card to fill in. These were brilliant as every single person actually wrote one for us, and it got people talking on the tables whilst waiting for everybody to sit down. They made great reading the next day! We decided against a photo booth, but did have a guestbook with an Instax camera and a couple of props which worked really well.
Alex has had a Colin the Caterpillar cake for every birthday since he can remember, pretty much, so when we saw that M&S were doing full sized versions as wedding cakes, we knew that they were the ones for us! They were absolutely massive, and everyone thought they were very fun (and tasty!), as well as still holding a bit of meaning to us, too. We were both Jurassic Park fans in our youth, and I still love a dinosaur, so impulse bought some dinosaur cake toppers from Etsy which were also great fun, and finished off the cake display nicely!
Our flowers, buttonholes and table displays all came from Kate at Agnes and Bee. I wanted something more unstructured than the traditional wedding bouquet, so Agnes and Bee’s work with wildflowers fit the bill perfectly.
Kate was wonderful to work with and understood what I wanted immediately. We asked for bright flowers, that smelt nice and a gold ribbon, which was the extent of my floristry knowledge! The bouquets were absolutely beautiful, and so unusual, and the flowers had only been picked the morning before. Everybody loved them!
As soon as we started thinking about wedding planning, I said that my only request was that we had Emma Hillier as our photographer. I’d seen her images from a couple of weddings and they were fantastic; her photos are so fun and colourful and sharp. I liked that you could really feel the moment through the photography, and it wasn’t all posed shots. I set up a meeting with Emma during my flying visit home, and as soon as we met, I was sold. She handled me being very vague about everything to do with the wedding very gracefully (as I’d literally been to see the venue the day before), and was warm, funny and interested in what our plans were. We had a pre-wedding shoot here in Switzerland, which was brilliant and really emphasised that we’d chosen the right photographer!
On the day of the wedding, Emma was great, and a dream to work with, and was basically like having an extra mate there! We did our day a little differently to some e.g., we met up all together with our parents before the ceremony, and we walked down the aisle together, and none of this fazed Emma in the slightest. She fitted in so well with us that for the most part, we forgot she was taking photographs! We were able to enjoy our wedding day without being pulled outside for hours for photos, which was something that we were adamant that we didn’t want. Equally Emma did not stop all day, and really captured everything that was going on. The photos themselves are absolutely wonderful, and tell the story of the day brilliantly. Everybody comments on how HAPPY and FUN the pictures are, which are exactly what we wanted. We couldn’t be more pleased!
I had five bridesmaids, all of different heights and builds so finding a dress that would suit all of them was harder than buying my own wedding dress! I’d decided that I wanted navy, rather than a pastel, and something a bit more ‘evening-wear’. Also, everyone needed to feel comfortable and hopefully not hate the outfit!
My bridesmaid Catherine kindly stepped in to try about 300 dresses on and sent me about 1000 WhatsApp photos, from the Delivery Depot, as her house was known for the duration of the wedding planning! Finally we settled on a low back maxi-dress from Missguided, which looked great on everybody, and matched the boys’ suits really nicely. The girls went for gold heels of their choice to tie in with my shoes.
Alex chose two best men, who I also know well, and the bridesmaids do too! It was really fun having a bridal party that mixed well as we got ready at the same hotel so had the best men popping next door to us for a chat and a drink throughout the morning.
We decided that Alex and the best men should wear the same suits, so they also had Marc Darcy tuxedos.
TBC! We had to take a lot of time off and travel home a lot to sort the wedding out, so there was no leeway for a holiday after it, although we did have some time off in Switzerland after we got home which was lovely. The current plan is some time in the south of France, followed by Italy.
Obviously the whole day was fairly memorable, as you’d hope! A couple of my favourite bits:
We stayed together the night before the wedding, and it was lovely waking up in the morning and being excited for the day ahead. It really allayed my nerves and was lovely to have an hour with just the two of us before the day began.
When we walked into the ceremony room my granddad started clapping, and everybody joined in. It was really lovely and celebratory to be applauded in and set a lovely and informal tone for the ceremony.
The dance floor was pretty much full, all night long which was just the most fun!
Advice For Other Couples
It’s a cliché, but my advice would be to do exactly what you want. We ignored most traditions but it worked really well for us, and everybody had a great time. I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. (And drinking a lot of wine the week before to de-stress!)
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Emma Hillier Photography
Agnes and Bee
Hair and Makeup
So Coco Rouge
Such a fun day and what wonderful colour! Thank you very much Lauren and Alex for sharing your fabulous day with us all. Rachel x